Feature Article of Sunday, 25 November 2012

Columnist: Sarpong, Justice

Amissah Arthur As President, That Is Scary

Amissah Arthur is missing in action on the Ndc campaign trail and that is not an anomally but an intentional political strategy by the Ndc political strategists to give him a low profile. In plain language, this man has too many negatives any attempt to give him a prominent role in the Ndc campaign platform will expose him to Ghanaians as a man who is a heartbeat away from the Presidency who is not qualified to rule any Banana Republic let alone our dear country Ghana. Ghanaians should not look at Mahama and Nana Akuffo Addo alone, they should look at their Vice-Presidential candidates too. Whilst Dr Bawumiah has a prominent role in the NPP campaign, Amissah Arthur has been padlocked somewhere in the Castle like he doesn't exist and there is a reason why NDC is hiding him.

Amissah Arthur is not the NDC Presidential candidate but the possibility of him becoming the President is real. Did we think John Mahama will be the NDC Presidential candidate in 2012? No we thought Mills will be on the Ticket fighting for his second term now not Mahama trying to corral a first term so the possibility exist that we might wake up one day and see "Mr Smily face" Amissah Arthur being sworn in as the President and that scares the hell out of me. You might say the man has been a former Deputy Minister, Governor of Bank of Ghana and and a stint as a temporary hired Vice-President but his debate performance in Takoradi exposed him as not somebody who is qualified to be President.

Amissah Arthur did not exemplify himself as a good Governor of Bank of Ghana. He presided over the decline of the cedi by more than 80%. When the cedi started to fall in late 2011, he did not identify what was causing the problem and apply the right corrective measures. He thought there was shortage of dollars in the system and started dumping the country's scarce foreign reserves to address the problem. The cedi continued to lose its value despite the Bank of Ghana putting more than half billion dollars in the system because the Nigeria Banks in Ghana that were bursting at the seams with Ghana Cedis were buying the dollars everytime Amissah Arthur dump them in the system and sending them back to Nigeria.

Another reason why this strategy was not working was that, the Chinese traders in Ghana were buying the dollars at an alarming rate and shipping them back to China because they don't have any use for our cedis and that is why the government has to get the Chinese out of our retail business. Government also has to put a stop to the growth of the Nigerian Banks in Ghana. Recently, a truck was intercepted at the Aflao border with a load of counterfeit cedis and dollars coming from Nigeria to Ghana. Believe me, the money would have found their way into the vaults of the Nigerian Banks where they would have been put in the syatem and exchanged for the legitimate cedis and dollars. Every country in the world has a limit of how many foreign Banks can operate in their country and there is a good reason for that. We cannot accept our Banking industry to be controlled by Nigeria, it poses a very dangerous situation for Ghana.

So you might be wondering what was the problem that caused the cedi to lose its value. When the government started to implement its SSSS policy, the money needed to make this policy work did not come from the money already in the system. More than one billion New Ghana cedis was needed to implement it but your NDC government with Amissah Arthur as the Governor printed more cedis and dumped them in the sytem and there were more cedis in the system that people did not need so they started buying dollars and opening dollar accounts. Now you can see why the cedi free fall continued for a long time. Even a form four leaver like me sitting in far away Houston wrote many comments suggesting that, the problem is that, there were too many cedis in the system but this Masters degree Holder Bank of Ghana Governor continued to pour dollars into the system.If you need a Viagra to help you sexually, you don't take pain medicine and that was what Amissah Arthur in a nutshell was doing.

The cedi decline slowed down when the government finally realised that it has been using codeine to treat a heart problem and then changed the medicine. Why did the government started selling bonds? What happens when government sell bonds? It give buyers a paper to hold and take their money and hold them in reserve which will be paid back later with interest. What it does is that, it takes cedis out of the sytem because government believes that there are too many cedis in the system. How did Amissah Arthur miss this basic economic theory that when you have too many cedis in the system that is not stable, people will buy the more stable currencies like dollar, Euro and the Pound sterling to protect their wealth?

What scared me about Amissah Arthur and made me believe this man has no practical aspects to his economic degrees is when he said the decline of the value of the cedi is good for the economy as our products will be more attractive for foreigners to buy.What products was Amissah Arthur talking about that was going to be attractive to foreigners? This is the theory we learn in Economics 101 which applies to industrialized countries that has their manufacturing sector well developed not a country like Ghana which export only raw materials. How a Governor of Bank of Ghana can easily forget or fails to realise this theory does not apply to Ghana's raw materials economy is beyond believe.

First, Ghana cannot even increase production of Cocoa, Gold and Oil to take advantage of the cedi decline since we sell everything we produce and don't have any cocoa in the silos, Gold in the Vaults and oil in reserve to immediately bring to the market to sell.

Secondly, we sell our products in the international market where business is conducted in international ccurrencies so a decline in the value of cedi will not have any impact since our buyers buy our Cocoa, oil and gold in dollars and Euros and not cedis.

Even he performed abysmally during the Vice Presidential debates I felt a pang of pain for him. The ladies candidates who are not even academically credentialed like Amissah Arthur performed better than this man who when asked a question about ports started talking about Courts despite the fact that Dr Bawumiah had already answered the same question. What was Amissah doing when Dr Bawumiah was answering that question? Is he senile or somebody handsome, Oh!! sorry, I meant to say somebody beautiful in the crowd, attracted his attention he lost his train of thought?

Justice Sarpong

Houston, Texas